According to the NHS, most people spend nine hours a day sitting down. Whether you work at home or in the office, most of those will be spent at your desk.
You may think you’ve done a good job of setting up your workspace – maybe by hanging up photos of your favourite pet (or child) or by buying the most expensive pens that WHSmith has to offer.
But are you craning your neck to see your screen? Are there piles of junk where your feet should go? Are you slouching so far forward that your nose is an inch from your keyboard?
This is where the magical science of ergonomics comes in. As well as banishing those pesky aches and pains, an ergonomic desk can help you be more productive at work. Here are my top tips on how to adjust your desk to give you the best possible work environment.
Before you jump to organising your elastic bands by size, you first need to adjust your desk. Choosing the right chair and desk for you can make a huge difference to your comfort levels.
Your desk chair’s job is to support your spine. To prevent some nasty back pain, tweak the height of your chair so your feet can rest flat on the floor. This encourages a proper posture, so you aren’t hunched over your laptop writing a blog like a monster in someone’s basement.
The desk height is also vital. It should be in line with your chair’s armrests. If it’s too low, try sticking some sturdy wooden blocks underneath it to lift it up. And if it’s too high, raise your chair and use a footrest so your thighs are parallel to the floor.
The comfiest computer placement
Whether you use a monitor or a laptop, you should put them right in the middle of your desk. Try to place them about an arm’s length in front of your face, with the top of the screen at eye level. You may need to buy a laptop stand or stack it on top of some books to do this – try and line the webcam up with your eyes.
A separate keyboard is a must. Make sure that your wrists and forearms are in line and your shoulders are relaxed while you’re typing. If your desk has a hard edge that’s not rounded, you should buy a wrist rest to avoid any contact stress that could lead to issues like carpal tunnel.
You can also invest in ergonomic keyboards and mouses. Although they take a few weeks of getting used to thanks to their unusual shape, they’re designed to encourage a more natural wrist posture while you’re working.
Organising the rest of your desk
My tin of sweets and collection of notebooks are my favourite part of my desk set-up. But organising your desk to remove any unnecessary clutter can improve your concentration and make working more comfortable.
Small changes add up. If you’re working from home, make sure your desk is well lit to avoid eye strain. Keep any objects you use frequently, such as pens or staplers, close to your body so you don’t have to reach often. And if you need to take a lot of calls, put the phone on speaker or use a headset so you don’t tire out your arm.
Remember to take breaks
Breaking up those nine hours of sitting down is the most important thing you can do to improve your health. Not only do short breaks improve your productivity, they can also lower your risk of developing health problems like diabetes and some types of cancer.
If you tend to get wrist pain, spend a few minutes stretching your arms or training your grip to strengthen your muscles. If you have to hand write anything, learn how to properly hold your pen and write from your arm instead of your wrist to avoid worsening the pain.
You should try to stand up every 30 minutes. If you’re in the office, try walking over to someone’s desk instead of emailing them. Make a cup of tea, refill your water bottle, and wander around for a few minutes to give your poor brain a break from your screen.
Get in touch
While we can’t help you to improve your posture, we can help you to attract more of the clients you’re looking for.
To find out how our specialist financial services marketing team can help you, email email@example.com or call 0115 8965 300.